The Edmond Sun

September 30, 2011

We say yes, yes on PSC vote

The Edmond Sun

EDMOND — Edmond voters will be asked Oct. 11 to consider a $25 million capital improvement project to construct a new Public Safety Center in downtown Edmond. The 75,000-square-foot project will house the Edmond Police Department, the Emergency Management Department and the 911 Communications Department.

This special election features two key items on the ballot. The first ballot item asks residents to consider approving a 5-year half-cent sales tax, which would bring Edmond’s sales tax from 7.75 percent to 8.25 percent. The Capital Projects Financing Task Force will oversee this half-cent sales tax. The second ballot issue asks voters to consider approving a $7.2 million loan from the city’s Hospital Trust Fund with the stipulation that the half-cent sales tax funding would pay that sum back to the trust fund.

We believe this proposal is about as good as it’s going to get. City officials have significantly reduced the footprint and the cost from a failed 2008 proposal and they’ve committed to keeping the project in downtown Edmond on city-owned property.

While we respect those who question various aspects of the project, we believe it’s hard to deny the need for an improved facility that meets today’s needs. The best part of this proposal is that it’s a limited tax increase for something that will produce numerous positive results for this city and its residents. It’s shameful to think of public safety workers and communicators working in a basement that floods regularly or in facilities that present a danger to them and others because the space was not designed for those uses.

We applaud city leaders for their creative thinking in finding a way to finance the beginning stages of the project without encumbering more debt by issuing bonds. It offers a better use for the Hospital Trust Fund dollars than what is occurring now, which is next to nothing.

This board urges voters to fully educate themselves about the two ballot issues. We encourage you to vote yes to fix a long-standing problem for Edmond’s public servants.